Being a photographer is the best job in the world. I get to be creative, I get to take photos of gorgeous little people, I get to create memories. I can fit my job around my kids and be there for them whilst still earn a living. It is a win win situation. Or so it would seem.
On most days my stress levels are through the roof before I have even got the kids to school. It probably does not help that I have an almost a teenager combined with a 2 year old strong headed little lady :)
When I started my business I never had a clue just how much is involved in running your own business. I love photography, I love working with little people and creating beautiful images. But running your business is SO much more than that. Let me give you a little taster what a normal day looks like...
7am Alarm goes off, let the craziness begin :) My eldest is usually up and he is pretty self sufficient. My younger two need help with sorting breakfast, youngest one needs help getting dressed. I get them ready for school/nursery/nanny's house. Check my emails over breakfast, take not of anything that needs my attention for when I get home from school run.
Fight the youngest to put shoes on and chase her around the house while she proclaims that she will: Stay here by myself! I not going!
Convince her to go in the buggy or car (depending how late we are running and how much it is raining outside). Distraction works wonders. I think I am an expert at distracting toddlers. This does help with photographing other people's little ones too :) So I guess it is great practice I get every day. (What was that noise? Did you hear it? I think it was a dinosaur/dog/aeroplane/ fairy...anything else. Oh wow, look at that bumblebee! What is he doing?)
8:50 I drop my middle one to school and either go to drop little one to nursery/ nanny's house (nanny as in grandma :) ) or on editing days she comes back home with me.
9 am Check my work phone for messages, check emails. Reply to emails. Update my accounts, chase any orders that have not arrived yet, sort through orders that the postman brought. Order any supplies I need in (backdrops, boxes, USBs). Put Peppa Pig on (very important!) sort out snacks. Play little games and try to sneak in 10 minute intervals of editing images. Order a cake for my next cake smash photo session and confirm outfit choices with mum.
Business phone rings. PANIC as little one is demanding a snack and I can smell something very unpleasant. Answer the phone with a smile whilst wrestling a 2 year old to change her nappy and talk my customer through what happens during their newborn session. (Apologise for the background noise).
Try to fit in going out (often post office, bank or something just as exciting). Wrestle 2 year old into buggy or car, distract her from having a tantrum as she does not want to go anywhere. Run errands. Comfort 2 year old who does not want to come home and wants to stay out.
Midday: feed the little one, sort lunch for myself. Check on emails, check Facebook, Instagram and Google. Think about what I could blog about to keep content on my website relevant. Respond to any questions or enquiries. Pay for school dinners, change a nappy, play, answer a lot of why questions and sing Row, row, row your boat several times. Spend 20 minutes trying to convince the youngest to nap before giving up as the food shop arrived and I need to put a wash on.
Try to sneak in more editing while letting little one play with moon sand. It creates a mess and means the hoover will need to come out but buys me 20 minutes. Join little one in playing with sand till school pick up time.
2:40 pm Wrestle shoes on kicking little feet who do not want to leave the house and want to stay here by myself! Coax her into buggy or car seat with help of distractions, snacks or anything that will work. Take a deep breath.
Collect middle one from school and provide snacks at home. Listen to how their day has been. Check emails and messages. As they are usually happy to play together for a bit ( being separated for most of the day means they really like each other and want to play for a little while) I try to edit a couple images before starting on the dinner and refereeing arguments that are starting to break out. Move laundry to dryer. As dinner needs a bit longer in the oven I pretend to be a monster (as requested by the little one) and chase the two younger ones around the house on all 4 to squeals of delight. They get tickled mercilessly should they get caught :D
5:30ish pm Dinner time. One time of the day I insist on no phones and we sit down together and chat about their day. I have long learned that asking "How was your day?" does not give you much insight into their day really. Instead we play a little game. I ask these kind of questions:
What made you really happy today?
Was there anything that made you feel sad?
What one thing made you laugh today?
I find I often find out a lot more about their day by asking this and some of the answers make us all laugh and some of them give me food for thought too.
Tidy away dishes. Fold clothes from dryer and then I go to prepare the studio for tomorrow's newborn session. Set up the bean bag, any props I will need. Check camera is ready and charged. Skim through my notes for the session.
My other half usually comes home around now so we team tackle bath time and coax the youngest into bath and then fish her out kicking and screaming as she wants to stay in :) I read her a story, snuggle her and then lay with her till she goes off to sleep. As she did not nap I luck out and she is fast asleep quickly. I go to snuggle the middle one, tuck her in. Check on my eldest and remind him of bedtime cut off.
8:30 pm Deep breath. Sit down by computer. Check on emails, reply to anything that needs attention. Sit down and edit till 10pm when I finally turn the computer off for the day. Shower, watch a bit of TV and go to bed where I lay thinking about what I could shoot for the Guild competition next :D
So yeah, I do fit my job around my kids, I am here for drop off and pick up and sports days and assemblies and everything else. I love my job. I would not change it for the world but juggling it all with 3 kids who I want to give as much time to as I can is sometimes rather hectic :D And don't even get me started on days when I think trying to potty train the youngest is a good idea and a try it for a day :D